Wesley Ladd — the gregarious, big-bearded owner of The Horned Hand — has been a busy guy lately.
Besides running his funky (in a good way) bar/music venue/art and retail space on a day-to-day basis, he has launched Nectar of the Gods Meadery, with plans of turning the Hand into a tasting room for locally made mead. (He was painting the words “MEAD HALL" on the side of the place Monday afternoon.)
He also has taken a lead role in working with the city of Bend on revising its new noise ordinance after The Horned Hand (507 N.W. Colorado Ave., Bend) was hit with a noise violation and fine in late August. On Wednesday, Ladd and a handful of other music-minded locals spoke to the city council on the issue.
As if that's not enough, he continues to book a diverse slate of shows each week that provide solid options for fiscally challenged folks and those more interested in hearing music from the fringes than the big-name acts that play bigger places in town.
Crucial stuff for any town with a vibrant cultural scene, in other words. And this week is no different. Over the next six nights, The Horned Hand will host four very different kinds of shows. Below is a roundup. Shows will get started around 8 p.m. and cost you $5 (or so; these things are fluid) to get in.
• Tonight brings a visit from Idaho-born and now L.A.-based band Jeff Crosby & The Refugees, a band of long-haired ramblers who play a distinctly Western brand of Americana. Think melodic twang and easygoing 'tude meandering around dusty, wide-open spaces, and you have an idea of what Crosby does. Tune into www.jeff crosbymusic.com to hear country-rock done right.
• On Saturday night, the centerpiece is local cello adventurer Third Seven's album release, but there's other stuff on the bill, too. For example: The Horde and The Harem, a Seattle-based indie-folk collective that employs boundless enthusiasm and expansive vocals and instrumentation in building its wall of sound. You know how Arcade Fire and Mumford & Sons strum mightily into crescendo on every song and you totally love it? These guys kinda do that too. Also playing: Tom VandenAvond, a wonderfully raspy-voiced folk singer and a best bud of Larry and His Flask.
• On Tuesday, the Hand goes indie as Swansea returns to town. The Portland trio paints cinematic pop music in deep, dark tones, unafraid of coloring its catchy sound with a little fuzz and noise here and there. According to the band's publicist, Swansea's newest album, “Old Blood," has been compared to My Brightest Diamond, Feist and Fiona Apple. I would've said “Pink Nasty leading an orchestra during sunrise on Mars," and if that means something to you, we should hang. Opening this one: Patrick Dethlefs, a like-minded singer-songwriter from Colorado.
• Then on Wednesday, it's time for a 180-degree turn as The Generators take over the Hand's dark corner stage. These dudes have been knocking around the L.A. punk scene for 15 years, cranking out catchy, classic, nonhyphenated punk rock. What does that mean? It means not indie-punk, not folk-punk, not polka-punk. Just. Punk. Rock. Think Social Distortion without the roots-music fetish. The Generators are touring behind their most recent album, “Last of the Pariahs," and that tour will start at the legendary 924 Gilman punk club in Berkeley, Calif., before heading toward Bend.